Maerki Baumann, an unlisted family-owned bank in Switzerland, is expanding its cryptocurrency services by introducing crypto custody and trading.

Following regulatory approval from the Swiss Financial Market Advisory Authority, or FINMA, Maerki Baumann will be offering its clients the trading and custody of crypto starting from June 2020.

Five crypto assets will be available at the launch

Announcing the news on May 29, the Zurich-based private bank said that the launch of new crypto features comes in line with Maerki Baumann’s crypto strategy initiated in early 2019. As part of the strategy, Maerki Baumann has been offering business accounts for blockchain firms as well as providing advice for startups dealing with initial coin offerings and security token offerings.

At the initial launch, Maerki Baumann clients will be able to trade five major cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Litecoin (LTC). Traders will be also offered to trade other ERC-20-based digital assets, the firm said.

The bank told Cointelegraph that they expect to list ERC-20 tokens in the near future. A representative at Maerki Baumann said:

“The trading and custody of ERC-20-tokens will in the first place be driven by client needs and projects. There have been numerous projects being discussed already. We expect the trading and custody of the first tokens rather soon.”

The new crypto push to bring more investment opportunities

In order to handle cryptocurrency trading, Maerki Baumann will be collaborating with some of its established partners. Specifically, the trading orders placed with the bank will be processed via companies like the transaction bank InCore Bank AG to professional crypto brokers and liquid crypto exchanges, the bank elaborated. “This will ensure that transactions can be rapidly executed and with a narrow trading spread,” Maerki Baumann added.

The new crypto push is intended to build a bridge between traditional private banking and the crypto industry. Maerki Baumann CEO Stephan Zwahlen outlined that the new feature will enable new investment opportunities for institutional investors. He said:

“With the trading and custody of digital assets, not only are we tapping into a new business area, we are also creating additional investment possibilities for our core business. This will benefit younger, tech-savvy client segments as well as private and institutional clients who would like to seek out new sources of return in the digital sphere or further diversify their portfolios.”

Cointelegraph reached out to Maerki Baumann with additional queries and will update as soon as we hear back.

Maerki Baumann is among early adopters of the crypto and blockchain technology in Switzerland. In August 2018, the bank reportedly became the second Swiss bank to accept crypto assets. Last year, the company’s CEO suggested that blockchain tech and crypto assets might outstrip traditional banking business.

Despite seeing a potential in crypto, Maerki Baumann has expressed some scepticism about crypto investments so far. In 2018, the bank said that cryptocurrencies are not good for long-term investment, noting that Maerki Baumann does not advise “larger investments” in crypto.

Although Maerki Baumann has apparently become less sceptical on the matter, the bank still considers that crypto investments are risky, a spokesperson for the firm told Cointelegraph. The bank said:

“Since the majority of our private banking clients have a rather conservative risk profile, we still recommend to be cautious when it comes to crypto investments. However, we believe that it can make sense to invest a small part of a client’s portfolio in crypto assets [...] The skepticism against crypto and digital assets has been significantly reduced since 2018.”